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The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
Lyft
June 27, 2012     The New Era Paper
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June 27, 2012
 

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Page 8 CO MMIINITV - June 27, 2012 From page 1 the site of the wreck, where he was told that a vehicle had gone into the water. He said he realized that he'd better help rescue the person or people inside. 'I knew I'd need something to break the glass," he said. "So I grabbed a big old bar from the tool- box on the back of the backhoe. I didn't know it was going to be me jumping in." No one else was making a move, though someone had called 9-1=1, he said, so he pulled off one of his boots and then realized he'd better not waste any more time. "I'm a good swimmer. I thought I'd better get in there now, so I just jumped in with one boot on and one boot off. "You're thinking about things in split seconds, so you don't think about how cold the water is or any- thing." He had to swim to where the truck Was and he had to come up a few times for air before he could Photo courtesy of Oregon Department of Transportation Troy Elverfeld speaks to reporters on the day following his rescue of Dean StillweU. Photo courtesy of Oregon State Police Long skid marks indicate where a pickup pulling ta loaded hay trailer, visible in center, tried to stop on Highway 20just east of Highway 26 be- fore slamming into another truck, sending it into a pond along the road. break the truck's window, he said. He said Stillwell apparently Stillwell, who reportedly had had begun to revive and apparently sustained a concussion, was initial- had taken off his seat belt when ly unresponsive and it took a few Elverfeld went down for the third dives before Elverfeld could get time. He was able to pull Stillwell him out, he said. out and get him to the surface, "I got in half-way and he where anotherbystanderhadswum wouldn't come out. I came up for out to the truck and was on the roof air and I decided that this time I and people on shore had thrown out was pulling him out. He's coming a rope to pull Stillwell to shore. out unconscious or alive. No matter Elverfeld said Stillwell was a what, I'm yanking this guy out." little disoriented and told him the LEBA Visit these fine Lebanon Businesses Bicycle Repair Parts Sales F us 0o) Fac ,ebook! Full Service Bicycle Shop John Smith 630 Main St Lebanon, OR 97355 Ph: 541.405.5054 RING FROM THAT 5eECIAL ENGAGEMENT TO EVERYDAY JEWELRY u Large Appliances I[ o New Used Pa l:s - FaSt: Repairs * 90 Day wwarrantM oH ALL - Pickup of Un-Wanted Appliances ('541) 259-,-1131 '= 2711 $. Main Rd. WWW.LIKENUAPPLIANCE.COM 1 BEHIND BI-MART IN LEBANON driver was still in the truck, but E1- verfeld couldn't find anyone else in the vehicle. Stillwell said later that he had gotten off work at Wah Chang and was driving home, along his usual route, when he saw construction signs and stopped. "I looked up in the rear view mirror and saw a pickup coming fast," he said. "That's all I remem- ber. I kind of remember being in the ambulance and being at the hospi- tal. I don't remember the water." He said he had "a little head- ache" the next day but was relieved there were no more serious conse- quences. "It could have been a lot worse," Stillwell said. "Nobody was killed. That poor kid driving the hay truck feels pretty bad. But thankfully, it wasn't any worse." He said he plans to track E1- verfeld down and thank him. The two other vehicles in- volved in the chain-reaction crash Were a 2006 Kia Spectra driven by Josalyn Lawrence, 23, of Leba- non, and a 2002 Volvo commercial truck driven by Pavel Priymak, 47, of Vancouver, Wash. Stillwell, Olson, Harrison, Lawrence and her 2-year-old son were all transported by ambulance to Albany General Hospital with minor injuries. Priymak and a 14-year old male passenger in the Dodge Cara- van were not transported to a hos- pital. Olson was cited for careless driving, police said. The highway was closed about 45 minutes in both directions be- fore one lane was open during the scene investigation. The scene was cleared about 6 p.m. E verfeld said he it wasn't the first accident he's helped with along that stretch. Twoyears ago he pulled pas- sengers from a car that had been involved in a crash and used dirt to put out a fire that started in the car while a woman was trapped in it. "There were 20 or 25 cars in the line but nobody had a fire ex- tinguisher," he said. He attributes his reaction in those instances to "instinct" but he said credit goes to others who helped out. 'q might have been the hero the other day, but other people were doing their jobs. I consider them heroes. Somebody called 9-1-1. Somebody threw the rope out there. A lady told me where to find the pickup." "It sure did look like a horrible accident. I'd do it again."